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The amazing story of the woman pulled from the Bangladesh building collapse after 17 days
An incredibly unlikely rescue briefly raises spirits as the death toll passes 1,000
 
She survived by eating biscuits from the bags of dead colleagues.
She survived by eating biscuits from the bags of dead colleagues. AP Photo

As the death toll from the factory building collapse in Bangladesh passed 1,000, rescue workers found a glimmer of hope: Incredibly, a woman was pulled from the rubble after being trapped for 17 days.

The woman, identified by The New York Times as Reshma, was pulled from the wreckage after clean-up crews noticed a pipe moving below them. At the time, hopes of finding anyone alive had faded, and work crews were using heavy machinery to clear debris.

After a bulldozer cleared some loose rubble, Abdur Razzaq, an army sergeant, noticed the pipe Reshma had been using to breathe from the basement of the eight-story building, according to The Wall Street Journal

Under the debris, where she faced 95-degree heat and 80-percent humidity, she survived by eating biscuits from the bags of dead colleagues, according to The Wall Street Journal. Near the end, supplies were running low, she told The Associated Press:

I ate the dried food for 15 days. The last two days I had nothing but water. I used to drink only a limited quantity of water to save it. I had some bottles of water around me. [Associated Press]

Once workers noticed her, they started drilling through debris as they gave her water, oxygen, and saline, according to the AP. She was reportedly unhurt as rescuers pulled her free to cheers from a crowd that had gathered. According to the Times, the last person before Reshma to be rescued from the site was a woman named Shaheena on April 28.

Overall, 1,038 dead bodies have been pulled from the Rana Plaza complex, which housed five factories before collapsing on April 24. The building's owner, Mohammed Sohel Ran, was arrested by police after a four-day manhunt and could face the death penalty if convicted of murder or manslaughter, according to Reuters.

The building collapse has led to criticism over unsafe working conditions and poor labor practices in the country's garment industry, the world's second biggest behind China. 

 
Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at TheWeek.com covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.

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